Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Follow up to the post below

Here is an excellent link that you may want to check out, dealing with behavior and decorum at Mass:
http://catholicexchange.com/2011/08/29/157656/print/

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reverence

Reverence for Our Lord in the Eucharist.... the stumbling block for so many Catholics. It's hard to look at the humble circle of wheat and water and understand that it is the One who Created you. I see so many people who go quickly to Communion, grab the host, place it in their mouth and stride away, not thinking that the Lord of Lords now resides within them. I myself had no idea of the Real Presence until I was 29. Nobody taught me. I never went to Catechism. My parents didn't tell me. The priests didn't mention it, at least not that I remember. I fell away from the church as a teenager, and it has been a long, long journey back.
Having recently been blessed with a week of Tridentine Masses by a visiting priest, I find it hard to go back to the Novus Ordo Mass. To see the casual way in which the parishioners approach their Sunday obligation. They would dress better for a visit to a restaurant than they do to receive the King of Kings. The priest often says "The Body Of Christ" even before the next person is standing before him and ready to receive; it's more like a production line, and if the priest does not show reverence, how will he lead his flock into great reverence? I kneel, and receive on the tongue, and feel that I am an annoyance to others.
Who will teach the children? We have too few volunteers for Catechism teachers this year, and I am sure we aren't the only parish with this problem. God bless those who teach, it isn't something I am called to do, especially difficult because of the influences children are exposed to daily; such an unGodly secular world.
Once again, I turn to the Imitation of Christ for solace and inspiration.

Book 4, Chapter 2:

GOD'S GREAT GOODNESS AND LOVE IS SHOWN TO MAN IN THIS SACRAMENT

THE DISCIPLE

TRUSTING in Your goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I come as one sick to the Healer, as one hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of life, as one in need to the King of heaven, a servant to his Lord, a creature to his Creator, a soul in desolation to my gentle Comforter.
But whence is this to me, that You should come to me? Who am I that You should offer Yourself to me? How dares the sinner to appear in Your presence, and You, how do You condescend to come to the sinner? You know Your servant, and You know that he has nothing good in him that You should grant him this.
I confess, therefore, my unworthiness. I acknowledge Your goodness. I praise Your mercy, and give thanks for Your immense love. For it is because of Yourself that You do it, not for any merit of mine; so that Your goodness may be better known to me, that greater love may be aroused and more perfect humility born in me. Since, then, this pleases You and You have so willed it, Your graciousness pleases me also. Oh, that my sinfulness may not stand in the way!
O most sweet and merciful Jesus, what great reverence, thanks, and never-ending praise are due to You for our taking of Your sacred body, whose dignity no man can express!
But on what shall I think in this Communion, this approach to my Lord, Whom I can never reverence as I ought, and yet Whom I desire devoutly to receive? What thought better, more helpful to me than to humble myself entirely in Your presence and exalt Your infinite goodness above myself?
I praise You, my God, and extol You forever! I despise myself and cast myself before You in the depths of my unworthiness. Behold, You are the Holy of holies, and I the scum of sinners! Behold, You bow down to me who am not worthy to look up to You! Behold, You come to me! You will to be with me! You invite me to Your banquet! You desire to give me heavenly food, the Bread of Angels to eat, none other than Yourself, the living Bread Who are come down from heaven and give life to the world.
Behold, whence love proceeds! What condescension shines forth! What great thanks and praise are due You for these gifts! Oh, how salutary and profitable was Your design in this institution! How sweet and pleasant the banquet when You gave Yourself as food!
How admirable is Your work, O Lord! How great Your power! How infallible Your truth! For You spoke and all things were made, and this, which You commanded, was done. It is a wonderful thing, worthy of faith, overpowering human understanding, that You, O Lord, my God, true God and man, are contained whole and entire under the appearance of a little bread and wine, and without being consumed are eaten by him who receives You!
You, the Lord of the universe, Who have need of nothing, have willed to dwell in us by means of Your Sacrament. Keep my heart and body clean, so that with a joyous and spotless conscience I may be able often to celebrate Your Mysteries and to receive for my eternal salvation what You have ordained and instituted for Your special honor and as an everlasting memorial.
Rejoice, my soul, and give thanks to God for having left you so noble a gift and so special a consolation in this valley of tears. As often as you renew this Mystery and receive the Body of Christ, so often do you enact the work of redemption and become a sharer in all the merits of Christ, for the love of Christ never grows less and the wealth of His mercy is never exhausted.
Therefore, you should prepare yourself for it by constantly renewing your heart and pondering deeply the great mystery of salvation. As often as you celebrate or hear Mass, it should seem as great, as new, as sweet to you as if on that very day Christ became man in the womb of the Virgin, or, hanging on the Cross, suffered and died for the salvation of man.


Monday, August 15, 2011

My Journey Continued

Lately, my husband and I have been praying for all the people we know who do not have God in their lives, and in times of trouble they crumble and don't know where to turn. There are some who just brush God aside, and make jokes about going to church, there are those whose marriages have fallen apart, some who are facing the end of their lives, some who are lonely, some who are in financial and emotional distress.
The common element is that they don't turn to the Father of Mercy in their trouble; let Him into their heart and trust in Him as a child trusts.
As usual, I can find guidance in the writings of "The Imitation of Christ". From Book III :

The Fifty-Ninth Chapter

ALL HOPE AND TRUST ARE TO BE FIXED IN GOD ALONE

THE DISCIPLE

WHAT, Lord, is the trust which I have in this life, or what is my greatest comfort among all the things that appear under heaven? Is it not You, O Lord, my God, Whose mercies are without number? Where have I ever fared well but for You? Or how could things go badly when You were present? I had rather be poor for Your sake than rich without You. I prefer rather to wander on the earth with You than to possess heaven without You. Where You are there is heaven, and where You are not are death and hell. You are my desire and therefore I must cry after You and sigh and pray. In none can I fully trust to help me in my necessities, but in You alone, my God. You are my hope. You are my confidence. You are my consoler, most faithful in every need.
All seek their own interests. You, however, place my salvation and my profit first, and turn all things to my good. Even though exposing me to various temptations and hardships, You Who are accustomed to prove Your loved ones in a thousand ways, order all this for my good. You ought not to be loved or praised less in this trial than if You had filled me with heavenly consolations.
In You, therefore, O Lord God, I place all my hope and my refuge. On You I cast all my troubles and anguish, because whatever I have outside of You I find to be weak and unstable. It will not serve me to have many friends, nor will powerful helpers be able to assist me, nor prudent advisers to give useful answers, nor the books of learned men to console, nor any precious substance to win my freedom, nor any place, secret and beautiful though it be, to shelter me, if You Yourself do not assist, comfort, console, instruct, and guard me. For all things which seem to be for our peace and happiness are nothing when You are absent, and truly confer no happiness.
You, indeed, are the fountain of all good, the height of life, the depth of all that can be spoken. To trust in You above all things is the strongest comfort of Your servants.
My God, the Father of mercies, to You I look, in You I trust. Bless and sanctify my soul with heavenly benediction, so that it may become Your holy dwelling and the seat of Your eternal glory. And in this temple of Your dignity let nothing be found that might offend Your majesty. In Your great goodness, and in the multitude of Your mercies, look upon me and listen to the prayer of Your poor servant exiled from You in the region of the shadow of death. Protect and preserve the soul of Your poor servant among the many dangers of this corruptible life, and direct him by Your accompanying grace, through the ways of peace, to the land of everlasting light

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My journey, continued

My sister and I made a trip recently to see our father, who has Lewy Body Dementia. Our purpose was to make sure that a priest would come to administer the sacrament of the Sick. We did accomplish this, and it was very interesting; near the end of the prayer, Dad looked at me and said clearly, "the door has been opened!". Now, Dad has been away from the Church for over 40 years, and we have been praying for him to receive the grace of final perseverance. The priest who came to see him is from the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to whom I have a strong devotion. He set some other things in motion which I won't discuss here, but we have great hope that when it is Dad's time, that he will be in a state of grace. We have placed this in the hands of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The point of telling you this, is that with prayer and the help of the Communion of Saints, we can hope. Hope is such a great grace; it lifts us up when things seem on the brink of despair; it keeps us strong when things seem impossible. When you petition God, have hope in your heart, because hope is necessary for trust in God.
In You, O Lord, I place all my hope and my refuge.  On You I cast all my troubles and anguish, because whatever I have outside of You I find to be weak and unstable.  (The Imitation of Christ, Book 3 Ch. 59)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Divine Mercy Chaplet for the sick and dying

Did you know that there is an Apostolic Blessing given, (courtesy of Blessed JP II ) for those who, during Adoration and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the sick and for those throughout the world will be dying in that hour?
I have prayed this Chaplet at the bedside of the dying, and also have asked my guardian angel to take this prayer to the bedside of the dying. Our Lord Jesus said to Sister Faustina, (Diary, 1777)

"Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul."


Jesus also said to Sr. Faustina,  (Diary, 1541)
"...when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge, but as the merciful Savior."


The reason that I trust in my guardian angel to carry the prayer to the bedside of someone who is dying, comes from this writing from Sr. Faustina: (Diary, 835)
"It sometimes happens that the dying person is in the second or third building away, yet for the spirit space does not exist. It sometimes happens that I know about a death occurring several hundred kilometers away. this has happened several times with regard to my family and relatives and also sisters in religion, and even souls whom I have not known during their lifetime."


Of course, I am not privileged like this saint to know when people are dying, but nonetheless, I pray for the souls of the dying, whoever they may be at that moment. What greater gift can we give a soul, than to pray for them so that they may be granted the grace of eternity in heaven? Jesus commanded us to "love one another as I have loved you " (John, 13:34). He wants souls to be with Him in heaven;  and when you love someone you want the best for them- in this case, heaven for all eternity.
At the bottom of the picture of the Divine Mercy it reads, "Jesus, I trust in You". For many of us, this trust is the hardest thing, and more so when we are dying and our lifetime of sin confronts us; and so our prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the dying is the greatest grace they can receive.